- April 28, 2020
- Posted by: Sharon Greenthal
- Category: midlife
We are running out of things to talk about. All of us.
The other day I texted a group of friends:
Hi. That’s it, that’s all I have to say today.
They were all equally as boring as I was. I love my friends, really I do. There’s just nothing, absolutely nothing, new to talk about.
Phone calls are brief though still loving and concerned:
“How are you?”
“I’m ok, how are you?”
“I’m alright. What are you up to?”
“What are you up to” is a question that should be banned for the time being.
Some people are using this time wisely. I’m not doing that so much. Some people are still working, so that takes up a chunk of their lives, but it’s truly remarkable how much we all depend on socializing to keep our lives interesting. And planning. And dreaming. And looking forward to what comes next.
Right now, there is no next. There is only the virus.
So we’re running out of things to say. We can recommend books (The Glass Castle by Emily St. John Mandel is fantastic), or TV shows (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and Mrs. America), and we can talk about our kids:
We can talk about what we’re cooking, but for me, an unenthusiastic, basic cook, that’s almost as boring as talking about the weather – which is fine.
Sometimes we complain about our husbands, but not so much. We’re all glad to have someone to hang out with during this long, lonesome stretch of stay-at-home time. Our husbands are here. For that we are grateful.
I Facetime with my daughter almost every day. She looks the same, and so do I. Sometimes when we Facetime, we just sort of sit together without saying anything, and that’s good. I miss her a lot. She misses her boyfriend more than me, and I understand. Sometimes, I know she’s just being kind when I Facetime her by letting me look at her for a little while.
She’s a good daughter.
As my world has shrunk, I’ve gotten far more interested in the goings-on of my neighbors than I ever was before. I wonder about the family across the street – the gay couple, their baby mama, and their son. How does that work? Does she date? Does the son understand who his parents are? How do they stay so damn fit? I love that little family, even if I don’t know them. Then there’s the older woman who lives two doors down from them in her Hawaiian themed house with her large black lab. Her husband died last year and suddenly she looks 10 years older. We chat a little here and there, but I hold back from getting too involved with my neighbors. I find it’s better that way for me. But if they needed something, I’d help them.
I set out a box every day with books I no longer want. “Free books,” the sign says. “Pay it forward.” People take such pleasure in this little gesture. Even if they don’t take a book, they appreciate the effort. I feel so good about this simple act of kindness. I live in a small community inside a big city, and it feels more small town-ish than ever before.
As boring as our texts were, my friends and I still scheduled a Zoom cocktail party this week. I was excited to have something to add to my woefully empty calendar. All of us will sit with our husbands, drinks in hand, in front of our computers. We’ll figure out things to talk about. The topics may be limited, and the stories may be dull or repetitive, but the important thing will be that we are all together. For now, that’s the best we can do. And it will be enough.